Wednesday, January 16, 2019


And in an afternoon

She had taken Christmas down

And returned his life

To her version of normal

Speaking for him

The hope is

That it will be

At least as good

As her version of holiday



Sunday, December 30, 2018


We primped and prepped 
for holiday events
that came,
rocked and rolled for awhile,
then passed so fast – 
    to the last tree needle swept – 

I decided to examine where they went.

The white Christmas which arrived on cue
took five when warm winds and rains
sent snowmen, in a panic, running
their graveyard of arm litter

sticking    p 

in the little snow that remained.

Our out-of-town revelers traveled
once the holidays died –
back home, the phone verified.
Their colds, flu and holiday blues
had hitch-hiked to make new friends. 

Holiday foods, once so proud,
are now huddled in the cold,
their trip to the disposal
delayed a day or two.

And those festive wrappings and bows?
In the basement, stowed,
or led to the curb, awaiting years        
of breaking down barriers
with new landfill neighbors.

The tree, undressed,
was let free, free to be
a green recyclee.                                        

But there the trails...begin to fade.                                     

Interpretations made
about Christmas,
hidden in memories diverse,
left when our visitors dispersed.                                                                   
And somewhere, misplaced,
is my taste 
for outrageous
holiday decor.

Dennis R. Keefe
February 26, 2009

Friday, December 7, 2018


“I love it, truly our best”

We said 
In the past

This year -- maybe different
Boxes in the basement
Hiding treasures

From forty-seven years
In a tangle of angels

Time to organize 
Get it out one more time
Then sort through
Toss, share, save a few

This tree, not the best 
Lacks symmetry
Shedding needles way too soon
And has never had that aroma
That hits you entering the room
Neither crisp nor pert
Its shoulders droop

Displaying our family's past

Red yarn threaded through a styrofoam peanut
Three pieces of wood, nailed twice — an airplane
Pieces of felt with pictures glued, each child 35 years ago

Where will it all go? What will go? What will stay?
Packages of treasures on the way
To the rest of the family tree

Next year, something more designed?
But by whose hand?
A commercial brand? 
Clean rug, needle free
Stay tuned  

See how future trees help celebrate
As we accumulate 

More anniversaries

Christmas, 2015

Pre Christmas ice was
our morning rise surprise.

Awakened to broken trees
and the creeping news,
hour by hour,
of the power of power.

in the lurch,
were left in the throes 
of holiday prep.

Driven by winter’s grip
and disabled heaters into the dark
they made their way —

    one flashlight there poking about.

No traffic light control
encouraged courtesies,
patience and taking turns.

All in search of
warmth, light,
wi-fi, TV,

refrigeration, the irony

or any
helping hand.

Decorated homes, unable to glow their mystery,
raised the issue of nativity quality without electricity.

One of the lucky spared 
we, in the midst of chaos,
somehow kept our balance

and in fact, gained new found power,

winners in the game
of who is the helper
and who the helpee. 

Blessed with beds,
couch and floor space availability
we could adopt an open door policy.

Then from the east appeared

chain saws, strong backs and good will
removing neighborhood tree debris.

And uprooted friends,
    cooks in need of a kitchen,
    willing and able
    to spread our table,

    snow shovelers and story tellers
    lightened and brightened the day.

Long story short, as Christmases go,
this was the best

or at least
among the top two.

Our decorations even thanked us
for their expanded venue.

Christmas, 2013


This will be short
Like our tree
Its scraggly bottom

In and out of the tree stand

Needles swept and re-swept

Out and back into the tree stand

Hundreds of lights redone
Trimming the top
A snap

My wife’s magic spun
The stubby jewel
Framed by the window
Fills the room




belled, trimmed in red
– oversized poster glam
in a men’s wear store --
a lifeless image
modeling holiday hospitality
fostered, for those on the move,
the illusion
of cheer.    

Seated at a cafe’,
I returned the stare

A woman stooped to greet a child
then eagerly await
news of his day.
Her focused smile,
filtered through tangled hair,
decorated my holiday.

Dennis R. Keefe
April 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


The best November asset
just may
be the ride one gets
when Advent’s cusp is passed
and it’s a downhill thrill
to Christmas day.

A young man,
three years in public service
    . . . promoting service . . .
stirred us up
with indiscriminate love affairs,
attracting followers everywhere
and cascading consequences
down to us today.

Never mind the fears that had him treed.
We cling to the news
that he was raised and we were freed
to continue his love story.

And as our November now wears on,
growing its darkness and creepy cold
I question my love affairs.
Are they warm enough?  Consequent free?
Do they light up too few?
And whom do I excuse
as too . . . too?

Come in . . . bring some wood for the fire.
We’ll use candles for atmosphere.
And while we’re here
let’s pause.
Honor the mother
who grew that babe
and cradled his desire
to learn to serve.

Y’all come, y’hear.